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Winter Weather Puts State Highway Administration Over Budget

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been one winter blast after another this season and tens of millions in unexpected costs for the state. Maryland’s already spent twice its snow budget–and that’s bad news for taxpayers.

Christie Ileto has more on the impact.

Countless snow mounds lining Maryland’s roads tell us it’s been a brutal winter…but it’s also been an expensive one.

“This has not been a normal winter, so we’ve obviously had to spend more,” said Valerie Burnette-Edgar, SHA spokesperson.

State highway officials say “more” means we’ve spent more than twice our $46 million snow budget on fuel, hiring contractors to keep the roads clear and even using 400,000 tons of salt for a price tag of $100 million.

“The reality is we have to keep the roads in good condition, safe and passable, if someone in an ambulance needs to get to the hospital,” Burnette-Edgar said. “So we’re going to do what we need to do.”

“It’s been a brutal winter,” said state contractor Carmen Caltabiano.

Caltabiano’s job is to clear the ramps on 695 of snow.

“We’ve seen them get ready, get our trucks ready, snow plow, clean up and then another one comes. It’s been difficult to keep up with,” Caltabiano said.

Snow totals are soaring statewide, including more than five feet in places like Owings Mills, Frederick, Westminster and Churchville and 163 inches on Keyser’s Ridge in Garrett County.

So can we afford another storm and do we have enough salt to keep our streets drivable?

“We have enough salt to get us through the next storms,” Burnette-Edgar said. “We’re in decent shape. We’ve got more salt on order.”

But state officials say no matter what Mother Nature does, they’ll clean up the mess and balance their checkbook come spring.

There are almost four weeks until spring so we still have the potential for stormy winter weather.

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